This is an essay I wrote for something a little while ago, I just thought I would share it with you guys, WARNING IF YOU DO NOT LIKE BLOCKS OF WORDS WELL THEN ITS NOT MY FAULT ITS AN ESSAY...
The Misunderstood Art
Every new medium that is introduced to the world is met with hatred and mistrust. Videogames have been unfairly targeted by this hatred. As the new kid on the block Videogames are seen as the cause of all the problems in our society. Despite the fact that studies have shown otherwise, videogames are blamed for the violence among youth, are not recognized as the art form that they are and are misunderstood by the average person.
The primary error in societies understanding of videogames comes from the belief that videogames cause violence among youths. These beliefs are driven by misrepresented facts, angry rhetoric and a sheer disbelief in statistics. The anti-videogame crowd hangs on to the same facts and preaches them as the truth. According to a small yet vocal minority the American Psychiatric Association and Surgeon General have done studies which connect videogames to violence. While this is true the facts are misrepresented. The APA studies found a correlative not causal link between videogames and violence and the Surgeon General found that risk factors for anti-social behaviour have more to do with quality of home life then with videogames. This means that while psychotic murderers may be drawn to violent videogames those videogames do not cause their violence. Despite the fact that their facts are flawed the anti-videogame crowd parades the same studies and arguments around every time a person goes on a violent school killing. Their words are so fiery and repetitious that society has begun to believe their misrepresentations as the one and only truth. Perhaps these people are the reason why no one believes the true numbers. In studies of major cities in the United States and federal crime statistics Henry Jenkins, a professor at MIT, noticed that not only is crime at a thirty year low but youth violence is especially low and most youth offenders consume less media before their crimes then average youths do. Whenever this statistic is brought up in conversation it is always driven down by the same lies, the same beliefs that studies taken out of context prove more than actual numbers.
This hatred and mistrust of videogames has unfortunately led to it being ostracized as an art form. How can something so despicable be art? The average person cannot look beyond the negative press and see the hard work, attention to detail and collection of multimedia in video games. They cannot equate a game to a piece of artwork. In any other medium if an artist slaved for up to six years on a project they would be seen as a genius in their field. Videogames regularly take long periods of time to create and yet the artists who work on them are only rewarded within their respective fields. A modeller will never have his work of art displayed in a gallery for the public to enjoy. Despite this videogames are almost the perfect art form. So much work goes into making a videogame the best experience a gamer can have. No other form of art has such a demanding audience that is critical of even the slightest mistake. Never will you see an angry outburst over a single misplaced brush stroke in a painting. If we can see a cube on a blank surface as a great work of art then why can we not appreciate videogames as art? With their fusion of images and music and the immersion that videogames bring a videogame is a far superior representation of talent then a cubist painting. When another art form puts even a third of the effort and attention into making a work they are seen as masterpieces and paraded in front of the world. Videogames are nowhere near as appreciated.
As I have shown videogames are misunderstood and seen as a cause of violence and as just moving pictures not as a real art form. The average person does no see the story behind videogames and instead see an endless succession of pac-man clones that have no benefit to ones life. This is so far removed from the truth. Videogames sometimes have vast stories that question the consequences of good and evil actions. They bring up the theme of choice in a way that no other medium can, by actually having the player choose what is right and wrong. Despite this videogames are seen by society as just meaningless wastes of time. In life someone will not question why you read a book yet they will question why you play videogames. What could possibly be the point? They ask, Videogames are just a silly waste of time that benefit no one arenít they? Videogames are not just silly wastes of time that benefit no one. Strategy games teach is how to plan and think ahead. Adventure games build a sense of wonder within us. Puzzle games teach us how to think laterally and find alternative solutions to our problems and first person shooters teach us how to react to unique and changing situations. Any school program that could teach children this much would be seen as the perfect course and yet videogames, while doing the same things, are put down as useless. Videogames have no story or no benefits they are all just the same thing played over and over again. Nothing changes just the name.
Perhaps one day videogames will rise above their problems. Perhaps one day the hatred and mistrust will be gone, shifted to another hapless medium. Perhaps one day new art galleries will be opened to show the beauty of games. Perhaps one day videogames will find their place in society. Until that day videogames are, and will always be, the misunderstood art form.
Agree? Disagree? Don't care? Want to give me a Playstation 3 for free? Comments are welcome.
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